David Legwand: slumping or misused?

You're probably aware by now that the Nashville Predators' top two-way center (or is he?) hasn't been producing on the offensive end of the rink the way fans, bloggers, and Barry Trotz would like. The actual numbers, however, might alarm you.

Here are Leggy's point totals since December 31st against Columbus:

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - David Legwand-12/31 to current 39 3 11 14 -2 12 0 n/a n/a 0 63 n/a

In the 41 games before that, David had eight goals and sixteen assists, which in my mind is a reasonable expectation (averaged out over a year) for an above-average defensive player being payed $4.5 million a year. The mega-slump has been hard to peg because Legwand has predominantly played with the same linemates (Joel Ward and Jerred Smithson) and hasn't been injured at all (that we know of). We know he's capable, too, because he's had two 20 goal campaigns in his career, one of them coming just last year. 

Quickly, lets look at what could be done to reignite David Legwand's offensive game:

  • Give him new linemates. Ward and Smithson aren't known for their o-zone prowess, and perhaps a player like J.P. Dumont could help get him going. 
  • Move him to the wing. Barry Trotz tried it last year with varying results, but some dedicated time in a position that carries more emphasis on scoring might not hurt. 
  • 'Bench' him. Obviously, Nashville can't outright sit Legwand, and I wouldn't want them to, but reducing his ice time in order to send a subtle message could snap him out of it. This isn't a very viable choice, however, as Legwand contributes so much more on defense than what shows up on the stat sheet. 

Its a strange case, to be sure. On the one hand, you can't ask much more of a guy who keeps at bay teams' most potent offensive lines. On the other hand, the Predators are a much more dangerous team with David Legwand contributing offensively. What do you think is the 'problem' with David Legwand, and what would you do to fix it? 

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